6 February 2017 will forever be remembered for the day when the world’s best Number 9, Joost van der Westhuizen, finally hung up his earthly boots, after fighting the dreaded ALS (amyotrophic lateral sclerosis) for the past six years.
I had the privilege of sitting down with Joost van der Westhuizen at his home in 2015 and talk to him about how he inspired me to get involved with his J9 Foundation since 2013, when I decided to run an annual fundraising for them through some of our SuperBru tournaments during those three years.
It was a massive task but nevertheless a very humbling experience, as in doing it I came to realise what a massive impact this man really had had on the world through what he had done throughout his playing career and subsequently his mission to make the world aware of MND (Motor Neuron Disease).
Until two weeks ago I still recall telling a colleague of mine that “Joost will outlive most of us.”
Well sadly he did not and today is not an easy day, especially thinking back on the short time I had dealings with Joost, his J9 Foundation, Pieter his brother and Johan Visser, Joost’s friend that lived with him all these years. These are sincere people that only have one goal in mind, to help Joost find a cure for so many others that have this dreaded illness.
Sitting in my car on my way home today, I only had one thing on my mind. “This man should have a State Funeral in honour of his legacy!” This is the least our Government could do in return for what Joost has meant to this country in rebuilding a nation divided along with his Rugby World Cup winning Springbok team mates from 1995.
Therefore we would like to extend this request to our Minister of Sport and Recreation, the honourable Fikile Mbalula, to please consider this as a Thank You gesture to Joost and his family from South Africa as a whole?